For the third year in a row, a HEAD Team Elite member has captured the Australian Open Junior Boys’ singles title. Unseeded Alexandre Sidorenko of France defeated Australian wild card Nick Lindahl 6-3, 7-6 (4) to join Donald Young (2005) and Gael Monfils (2004) on the list of Australian Open Junior Boys’ Singles Champions.
Sidorenko, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia who moved to Paris at the age of four, was unseeded due to limited ITF junior play in 2005. Needing a special exemption to avoid playing the Australian Open Junior qualifying, Sidorenko earned one by reaching the doubles final in the Grade 1 at Nottinghill the previous week.
In the main draw, the seventeen-year-old Sidorenko, using a HEAD Liquidmetal Prestige MP, met little resistance, losing only one set in the tournament and eliminating three seeded players. Against Lindahl in the final, Sidorenko won the first 12 points of the match and lost only two points on his serve in the first set.
“I was very good with my legs, very good mentally,” Sidorenko said. “I had good preparation before the match. “
Lindahl ran out to a 5-2 lead in the second set, but Sidorenko fought back, his return game especially effective when Lindahl was serving for the set at 5-3.
“I think in the second, middle of the second, I was very bad, but I just continued to believe that I can win,” Sidorenko said.
With his trophy and his stuffed kangaroo by his side at the post match press conference, Sidorenko reflected on his win.
“It’s like a dream for me to win a Grand Slam in the juniors. I’m very happy today.”
HEAD Team Elite member Blazej Koniusz of Poland, who was playing the International HEAD Team Elite Cup 2004, also left Australia as a happy winner when he and partner Grzegorz Panfil, also of Poland, took home the Junior Boys’ doubles crown with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Kellen Damico and Nate Schnugg of the United States.
Panfil and Koniusz were not seeded, but they proved themselves on the courts of Melbourne Park, where they dropped only one set, which occurred in their upset of the top seeded Indian team of Jeevan Neduncherhiyan and Sanam Singh in the second round.
Alize Cornet of France, another HEAD Team Elite member, was a finalist in the Junior Girls’ doubles championship. Cornet, who uses a Liquidmetal Prestige MP, teamed with Corinna Dentoni of Italy to upset the second seeded team of Anna Tatishvili and Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the semifinals. Due to rain, Cornet and Dentoni, the eighth seeds, were required to play the finals within an hour and a half of finishing that very tense match, and they fell to the fourth seeded team of Sharon Fichman of Canada and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-2.
Another HEAD Team Elite member, Austria’s Tamira Paszek, who plays with a Flexpoint Instinct, also had notable results in Australia. As the 12th seed, Paszek was the only girl outside the top eight seeds to advance to the quarterfinals. After upsetting seventh seed (and doubles partner) Sorana-Mihaela Cirstea of Romania in the round of 16, Paszek found herself facing top seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, and only Wozniacki’s mid-match adjustments allowed her to escape with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 win.
”She was playing well,” Wozniacki said. “I think I was lucky it started to rain, because I got time to think about my game and what to do better. She was really playing great when she got the ball where she wanted it. I had to change my game or I would have lost the match.”
Paszek and Cirstea also reached the quarterfinals in the doubles, where they fell to Fichman and Pavlyuchenkova, the eventual champions.